20 May The birth of multifunctional textiles collection
( Skaitykite lietuviškai: https://baltabalta.com/2020/05/20/multifunctional-textiles-lt/ )
This year our creative group took part in an exciting design innovation project. WORTH Partnership Project is a EU-funded project that creates and supports transnational collaborations between fashion designers, creative people and other artists and manufacturers.
There were 3 stages of selection for the project, during one of them we had to go abroad and present our ideas in Valencia, Spain. Sleepless nights, piles of applications and sketches – this is what our routine looked like during the selection time. And yet, we soon found out that we were the only ones from Lithuania to be among the winners of the project. It was time for our collection of multifunctional textiles, which we already have been cherising in our minds, to finally get its physical form.
The habit of having too many things and consuming excessively is a real issue for the environment. As textile artists, we often use our personal things with many purposes, sometimes even without thinking about it. Meanwhile, in our homeland, this kind of resourcefulness is an old tradition. The same hand woven fabric used to be passed from generation to generation and implemented a role of many different things – a cover, a tablecloth, a cloak, a blanket, even a baby carrier. We thought that this kind of mindful approach could encourage people to reconsider their consumption habits and also inspire their creativity.
A few days after we found out about the WORTH Project, while drinking tea in our studio, we already have been discussing about creating a collection of multifunctional things. From the first sight, these objects would seem simple, but actually they replace several items in everyday life. So, to help the consumer reduce the amount of items in their environment, we have set ourselves the challenge of creating high-quality, sustainable design objects that combine the clothing and home textile sectors.
When looking for solutions for the collection of multifunctional products, we paid special attention to the quality and properties of fabrics and chose combinations of linen, merino wool and linen and wool fibers, because they provide the properties necessary for human comfort. The products had to be light, not take up much space, be both aesthetic and practical in various life situations – when traveling and at home, playing sports in the city or relaxing by the water.
During the whole creative process we faced many challenges. We had to visit almost every textile manufacturer in Lithuania, choose, try and change different fabrics. We were looking only for Lithuanian manufacturers because we wanted to support local economy and reduce transportation distances to generate smaller carbon footprint and do less harm to the nature. One of the problems was that manufacturing of some of our chosen fabrics have been stopped, so we had to look for other possibilities and start from the beginning, testing whether all the properties of the new fabrics meet our requirements.
One of our products needed some special pieces of hardware, which had to be made from natural materials. At first we couldn’t find anything in either the Lithuanian or foreign markets. Fortunately, we are members of the Ecodesign Association EKODA, and at one of their events we met Commune DIY – representatives of skateboard recycling workshops from Lithuania, who agreed to craft unique, skateboard wood rope tips and fasteners for us. Such events are a great place for collaborations between creators of similar ideologies. So, in the end our idea was brought to life and the multifunctional SPA towel now can be transformed in many ways to be worn as a blouse or skirt.
One of the goals of the international WORTH Project is to creative cooperation and partnership between designers and manufacturers from different European countries. For more than a year, while working on the collection, our project partner was Latvian designer Davis Licitis. We chose him knowing that the values of our brand will be close to him – attention to nature, fostering of Baltic aesthetics, endless search for innovative design solutions. Everything went smoothly, from the very beginning Davis got involved into the creative process and really supported our ideas. In the beginning of the project he created a universal packaging design for our collection prototypes. The primary material was recycled paper, but when we tried to ship it from Latvia to Vilnius, it arrived all torn.
Without wasting much time in disappointment, we started to search for another material, which would meet our requirements – to be natural or recycled and durable enough. Also, we wanted that customers could reuse the packaging in the future as a practical item instead of discarding it. That’s how Latvian lingerie factory LAUMA has joined us in this project. They have offered Davis their knitwear fabric scraps to sew bags from. It turned out that the waste of leftover fabrics is a big problem for their manufacturing, and they were happy that we have found a creative and rational way to reuse these scraps.
It is important for us not only to adhere to the principles of sustainability in our production process, but also to educate our consumers about the environmentally friendly lifestyle. After all, we can only create a cleaner world for future generations together – developers of new products and fans of their products. That’s why each of our unique recycled bags display a QR code which provides useful information about the uniqueness of the collection. It explains how to use objects creatively in various life situations, as well as introduces important sustainability criteria of our brand, and, of course, the plant dyeing process. We were excited by the whole collaboration process, since it always brings new ideas and possibilities, and especially unexpected solutions.